November 17, 2015 – ARLINGTON, VA – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) today reaffirmed the supermarket industry’s strong support for legislation (H.R. 2017), introduced by Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), that is being marked up by the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee to adopt needed modifications to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) chain restaurant menu labeling rule to make it workable in a grocery store setting. FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin offered the following statement:

“Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI), Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-PA), Congressman Tony Cardenas (D-CA) and many others on the Committee have stepped forward to solve a problem. This legislation is not about being ‘for’ or ‘against’ the inclusion of nutrition information on menus. If ‘menu labeling’ is going to be required at grocery stores, then let’s at least build some flexibility so it is worthwhile for consumers and workable in store environments. From our several meetings with FDA over the past year, we know these legislative modifications are needed to make this regulatory scheme work and more effectively integrate menu labeling into our operations. The earlier these changes adopted, the quicker our food retailer and wholesaler members can move past complying with regulatory schemes and get back to focusing on customers’ needs.

“FMI will continue to engage Congress, FDA and stakeholders willing to address as many of these problems as possible before enforcement of the menu labeling regulation begins.”

The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act of 2015 (H.R. 2017 as Amended) maintains but modifies FDA’s menu labeling regulations by:

  • Clarifying that the menu labeling law is intended for “standard menu items,” defined as those items prepared with uniformity and routinely included on a menu or menu board at 20 or more locations; not a food item that is sold at one or two stores.
  • Allowing for supermarkets to use a menu or menu board in a prepared foods area or next to a salad bar instead of individually labeling every item.
  • Allowing an establishment to take corrective actions within 90-days prior to federal, state or municipal enforcement and protecting against frivolous class-actions and does NOT modify or weaken FDA and state officials current enforcement authority.
  • Providing flexibility within “reasonable basis” standards, in-store certifications, remote-ordering, multi-serving and variable items.

H.R. 2017, as modified, does not exclude retailers from the menu labeling regulations, and all of the provisions in the bill are afforded to all establishments so restaurants and retailers with different food service formats have a level playing field for complying with the law. For more information, click here.